The 5 company policies you need to have in writing
Every business, no matter which industry it operates in should have well-documented, comprehensive workplace policies and procedures. As such, the importance of these should not be underestimated as they are the framework to which employees work within helping to avoid any grey areas.
Often small businesses neglect getting policies written down, feeling it is unnecessary often believing verbal instructions and details are enough. As soon as a company starts growing though, the limits of this approach become obvious. Putting company policies down in writing makes them official and employees then know the rules and regulations that they need to abide by. There is always the possibility that a dispute will arise and if it does, it helps to have the ground rules established to avoid any confusion.
However, having policies isn’t all about letting your employees know what they can and can’t do. It is also an opportunity to tell them what is special about your company and what it can do for them.
Below are the five key policies your company should have in place:
1: Employee Code of Conduct Policy
One way to keep misunderstandings to a minimum between an employer and employee is to have a code of conduct handbook. Sometimes, even the simplest of duties can be misconstrued and by having rules and requirements clearly laid out an employee can regularly refer back to it when needed for important issues such as attendance or even the use of social media. Also, if for any reason an employee has their contract terminated it is best to have a proper record in place to avoid being taken to court for unfair dismissal.
2: Employee Disciplinary Action Policy
Unfortunately there may be the occasional issue that arises at work that will require some form of disciplinary action. By having a clear and concise policy written down it will make it easier to follow procedures step by step, ensuring that the employee receives fair and appropriate treatment. By having these policies in place it also portrays to staff that you will not tolerate any violations, large or small. Please note, it may be wise to consult a lawyer before actioning any of these disciplinary policies to ensure that they are in fact lawful.
3: Workplace Health and Safety
A workplace safety policy is now essential within all companies large and small. If your employees work in an unsafe environment and an accident happens you can easily end up in court where you will be up against a costly lawsuit as well as a damaged reputation. In this day and age no one can afford to be complacent when it comes to health and safety standards, therefore it is intrinsic that a policy is firmly in place to protect not just your employees but yourself too.
4: Leave of Absence Policy
There are all sorts of reasons an employee may need to be absent from work such as annual leave, maternity or paternity leave or even a longstanding medical issue. For each reason there is normally a different treatment. By having all the different variations and rules that are connected to each in writing, it takes away any ambiguity as to what each employee is entitled to.
5: Equal Opportunity Policy
In the UK as well as most other countries, employers are required by law to have and enforce an Equal Opportunity policy. This policy has been established to help protect all potential candidates and current employees from being discriminated against due a “protected characteristic” such as race, gender or age. It also aims to promote a fair environment where employees can work and flourish without fear of being harassed or discriminated against. By having these polices in place it sends a clear message that your company is serious about equality.